Weekly Links: NHL expansion to Seattle; Continuation of women’s hockey in the Olympics; Sportsnet and CHL extend broadcast agreement

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Welcome to Hockey in Society’s Weekly Links post. This feature highlights articles or blog entries that are related to Hockey in Society’s areas of interest and that may be of interest to the site’s readers. Please check out some of the great writing that is happening in the hockey media and blogosphere!

Congratulations to the Canadian Women’s hockey team on winning the gold medal in Sochi!

  • John Barr reports on the rumours of NHL expansion to Seattle. [Sonics Rising]
  • A great comprehensive post arguing for the continuation of women’s hockey on the Olympics program, a topic that was also addressed last week in this blog’s Olympics Roundtable. [Japer's Rink]
  • On the topic of women’s hockey, Finland’s star Olympic goalie Noora Räty is retiring from women’s hockey at the age of 24, citing the lack of competitive leagues in which to play. What does Räty’s decision say about the state of women’s hockey? [The Pink Puck]
  • Latvian netminder Kristers Gudlevskis put on a remarkable performance against the Canadians in the quarter finals. James Mirtle provides some details about the netminder and his difficult path to professional hockey. [Globe and Mail]
  • TJ Oshie gained significant attention for his shootout performance against the Russians early in the tournament. Sam Laird looks into how it all played out on social media. [Mashable]

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Weekly Links, Bonus Sochi Edition: Should the NHL participate in the Olympics?; The status of women’s hockey at the Games; NCAA hockey alumni at Sochi; and more

Welcome to Hockey in Society’s Weekly Links post. This feature highlights articles or blog entries that are related to Hockey in Society’s areas of interest and that may be of interest to the site’s readers. Please check out some of the great writing that is happening in the hockey media and blogosphere!

Editor’s note: Not surprisingly, most of the hockey world is focused on the Winter Olympics currently underway in Sochi, Russia. However, there is still great hockey writing being done about non-Olympics issues. This edition of the Weekly Links is thus divided into two posts: on Friday we posted non-Olympics links, while this post is devoted exclusively to writing about the Sochi Games. We hope you enjoy both posts!

  • There has been a great deal of discussion about whether NHL players should continue to participate in the Olympic Games. Ed Snider, owner of the Philadelphia Flyers, offered outspoken comments about the NHL’s participation in the Olympics, calling it “ridiculous.” [Broad Street Hockey]
  • Nick Cotsonika offers a good take on the dilemma posed to the NHL by Olympics participation, particularly given the popularity of the event with players like Zdeno Chara, who missed two Boston Bruins’ games to carry the Slovakian flag at the Opening Ceremonies. [Yahoo! Sports]
  • And Harrison Mooney also discusses whether the NHL should send players to the Games, arguing that the current situation “create[s] a situation where players have to serve two masters” – their club and their country. [Puck Daddy]

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Roundtable: Issues and Controveries at the Sochi Olympics

Roundtables are an occasional feature on Hockey in Society. Roundtables will present brief commentaries from Hockey in Society contributors on pressing or timely issues within hockey and its culture, with the aim of presenting a diverse range of critical viewpoints on the topic under discussion.

The Olympic Games are, despite the Olympic Movement’s laughable claims about the separation of sport and politics, highly political events. Sometimes this politicization is obvious (e.g. Berlin, 1936; Mexico City, 1968; Moscow, 1980; Los Angeles, 1984; etc.) and other times it is more subtle – but every Olympics is hosted, supported, and contested by various actors seeking diverse political aims.

This year’s Winter Olympics, currently ongoing in Sochi, Russia, is one of the more overtly politicized Games in recent memory. Among the controversial political issues surrounding these Games are Russia’s introduction of repressive anti-gay laws, the massive hosting costs of over $50 billion dollars and the related allegations of corruption, the security concerns over terrorist attacks, President Vladimir Putin’s use of the Games as an empire-building exercise, the culling of stray dogs from Sochi streets, and the exploitation of labour in the construction of venues. And this does not even touch upon the sports themselves, supposedly the raison d’être for the Olympic Games!

Given the many complex and controversial sociopolitical issues surrounding the Sochi Games – and given the prominence of hockey as a marquee event at the Winter Olympics, as well as a form of soft diplomacy by Putin’s regime – it is timely for Hockey in Society contributors to weigh in on a variety of hockey- and sport-related topics. After the jump, five contributors share their views on a diversity of topics: LGBTQ rights at the Sochi Games; the hockey-related political machinations of Putin and Canada’s Stephen Harper; Canada’s increasingly hypercompetitive emphasis on its Olympic medal haul; the Games as an opportunity for hockey to evolve; and the question of whether women’s hockey will remain on the Olympic program.

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“Don’t Play With the Dictator”: Politics and the 2014 World Hockey Championships in Belarus

Sporting mega-events such as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games, despite claims by their organizers and boosters about the political neutrality of sport, are deeply enmeshed in political structures. In recent months, a number of these high profile events have drawn the ire of political activists, citizens, and some media precisely because of their political implications. Consider the following examples:

Each of these examples highlights some of the ways that sport is enmeshed in, and can contribute to, unequal power relations between individuals and groups in various societies around the world. Thankfully, sport mega-events are increasingly coming under public scrutiny and are having their politics examined in the press. However, there are many other examples of sport contributing to social injustice that are happening on a smaller scale. One such event, which has gained relatively little media attention (especially in North America), is the upcoming 2014 Men’s World Hockey Championships in Belarus.

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Weekly Links: Reactions to “While the Men Watch” and reflections on hockey media; US participation rates rising; New arenas in Detroit, Edmonton, and Seattle

Welcome to Hockey in Society’s Weekly Links post. This feature highlights articles or blog entries that are related to Hockey in Society’s areas of interest and that may be of interest to the site’s readers.

[Note:Sorry folks, I have again been behind on these Weekly Links posts. I will continue to try to get them up each week, but please bear with me right now if they are posted somewhat irregularly.]

Hockey Links

  • There has been no shortage of reaction in the blogosphere to the CBC’s new venture, While the Men Watch, including Courtney Szto’s initial reactions and review of the show on this blog. I will do a separate roundup of these reactions, but in the meantime here are some excellent posts by Ellen Etchingham, Cassie McLellan, and Julie Veilleux respectively. [Backhand Shelf; Raw Charge; Puck Daddy]
  • Great post from Cam Charron about the monopoly on sports expertise by ex-players or entrenched media members, how it partly explains the slow uptake on advanced statistics by NHL personnel, and how the blogosphere (thankfully!) offers a wide variety of ways for fans to understand and conceptualize hockey. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Speaking of advanced statistics and new media: Please do check out Sunil Agnihotri’s excellent blog, Super Fan 2.0. His work uses sociocultural theory to examine issues related to new media and hockey fandom. As someone who is also interested in this area, I find his work fascinating and insightful. Give it a look yourself! [Super Fan 2.0]
  • Chris Peters reports that hockey participation in the US has risen to nearly 595,000, and examines some of the reasons for this increase in various areas, including sunbelt NHL markets. [United States of Hockey]
  • Daniel Wegner debunks Don Cherry’s jingoistic (and excessively pro-Ontario) rehtoric about the players needed by teams that enjoy success in the postseason. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Wayne Gretzky would like to see the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s playoff MVP, renamed after Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau. [TSN]
  • The KHL continues its global empire building, announcing plans to play regular season games at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NYC. [Puck Daddy]
  • Canadian media giant Rogers may attempt to snatch the rights to Hockey Night in Canada away from the CBC. A potentially sad day for Canada’s public broadcaster. [The Province]
  • Matt Hendricks of the Washington Capitals is the latest hockey player to support the You Can Play project, which targets homophobia in hockey. [Dump 'N Chase]
  • The World Junior Championships proved to be a cash cow for Hockey Canada and the province of Alberta, bringing in revenues of $22 million. [TSN]
  • The Red Wings press ahead with plans to build a new arena in downtown Detroit, hiring an architect to begin designs. The arena, if built, will replace the Joe Louis Arena, which opened in 1979. [Detroit News]
  • More arena news: Greg Wyshynski updates Seattle’s plans for a new hockey arena and briefly touches upon the new arena that is being constructed for the Oilers in downtown Edmonton. [Puck Daddy]
  • Jamaica has been admitted to the International Ice Hockey Federation, and is aiming to ice a team at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang. [Puck Daddy]
  • Finally, Ellen Etchingham explores “hockey’s complex relationship with booze.” A fascinating article. [Backhand Shelf]

General Sport Links

  • Hockey in Society’s Courtney Szto examines the efforts to curb HIV transmission during the 2012 Euro Cup in Poland and Ukraine. [The Rabbit Hole]
  • ESPN’s fascinating 3o for 30 documentary series is returning with a new slate of films. [Grantland]

Weekly Links: More Reaction to Herb Carnegie’s Death; Don Cherry’s pro-Ontario Rant; KHL to Play Games in Brooklyn

Welcome to Hockey in Society’s Weekly Links post. This feature highlights articles or blog entries that are related to Hockey in Society’s areas of interest and that may be of interest to the site’s readers.

Hockey Links

  • Earlier this week I reflected on the legacy of Herb Carnegie. Kevin van Steendelaar has a different take, criticizing the NHL for not acknowledging Carnegie’s passing: “It’s a real shame on them for missing a chance to at least slighty make a right to a terrible wrong those many years ago.” [Habs Eyes on the Prize]
  • The Globe and Mail missed the boat on publishing an obituary for Carnegie, but yesterday it finally published a Dave Shoalts piece that reflects on Carnegie’s life. [Globe and Mail]
  • James Mirtle reports that games missed due to concussions in the NHL are on the rise, although the number of concussions is around the same rate – presumably this is because of stricter precautions about returning to play. Interesting tidbit: apparently only three percent of concussions are a result of fighting. [Globe and Mail]
  • Ellen Etchingham has a good post about the 228th Battalion team, a military hockey squad that played one season in the National Hockey Association before being shipped off to fight in World War One. A very interesting historical perspective on the early links between hockey and militarism, with a brief discussion of the current state of this relationship. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Etchingham also went to bat for Don Cherry, defending him for his rant about the Toronto Maple Leafs’ lack of Ontario-born players. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Harrison Mooney, on the other hand, criticizes Cherry’s comments as “subtly prejudiced nonsense.” [Puck Daddy]
  • A few years ago, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) launched a Champions League club competition. It only lasted one season. The federation is now looking to reinstate the competition and is beginning the process with a stakeholder summit. [TSN]
  • The KHL is planning to play regular season games in Brooklyn, at the new Barclays Center that is opening this fall. [Puck Daddy]
  • An inside look at how the LA Kings manages its various new and social media accounts. [The Sports Cortex]
  • Bruce Peter weighs in on the Alexander Radulov controversy and the politics of the NHL-KHL relationship, as the Russian superstar appears ready to make the jump back to the Nashville Predators from Salavat Yualev Ufa of the KHL. [Puck Worlds]

General Sport Links

  • Interesting article about the intrusion of Twitter into sports marketing and, more specifically, sports jerseys. [Social Media Today]
  • Dave Zirin comments on racist chants during the NCAA’s March Madness, directed from the Southern Mississippi University band toward a Puerto Rican player on Kansas State, and the event’s broader political context of anti-immigration sentiment in Mississippi. [The Nation]

Weekly Links: ESPN Ignores Hockey Deaths, Fans Fight Back; 2011 Was the Year of Hockey Concussions; Economic Impact of World Junior Championships

Welcome to Hockey in Society’s Weekly Links post. This feature highlights articles or blog entries that are related to Hockey in Society’s areas of interest and that may be of interest to the site’s readers.

Hockey Links

  • ESPN caused a furor amongst hockey fans by not including any hockey players on its tribute to sport figures who passed away in 2011. During its Year in Review Sports Center program, ESPN failed to mention the deaths of Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien, Wade Belak, or the KHL’s Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team. Greg Wyshynski had a good reaction to the ESPN program. [Puck Daddy]
  • As did Travis Hughes, who also examines the relative lack of US mainstream media attention given to hockey in contrast with the thriving hockey blogosphere. [SB Nation]
  • Meanwhile, a fan post on Broad Street Hockey, the Philadelphia Flyers’ SBN blog, has become an unofficial online tribute to all the hockey figures who passed away in 2011. Hockey fans contributed their individual knowledge to produce this collective and comprehensive tribute. [Broad Street Hockey]
  • It sounds like ESPN heard the complaints: Pierre LeBrun reported on Twitter that an updated version of the program will be aired and will include hockey players in its tribute. [@Real_ESPNLeBrun]
  • Good story on the challenges facing the Canadian Women’s Hockey League as it struggles to attract fans. Obviously this is a topic that Courtney and I both feel strongly about. [Globe and Mail]
  • Bruce Arthur with a terrific, but worrisome, post about Sidney Crosby: “Sidney Crosby played just 10 games in 2011. . . . And we were left to wonder if Sidney Crosby would ever be quite the same again.” [National Post]
  • Ryan Lambert with a good post about the reporting of hockey concussions, in reaction to Brian Burke’s admission that Colby Armstrong should not have hidden his concussion and continued to play. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Bruce Dowbiggen’s list of 2011′s biggest stories contains some interesting analysis on the sale of MLSE to Bell/Rogers, Sidney Crosby’s concussion, the emergence of long-form sports reporting such as that on Grantland, and other interesting sports media tidbits. [Globe and Mail]
  • This is a few months old, but still interesting: in his forward to Paul Henderson’s book How Hockey Explains Canada, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is very forthcoming about his hockey fandom and experience. Hockey has, at times, been featured in Conservative Party adverts or other PR. [Vancouver Sun]
  • The IIHF World Junior Championships is projected to bring $80 million into the host cities of Calgary and Edmonton. Take this with a grain of salt as, for a variety of reasons, economic impact assessments of large sports events are often overly optimistic about the revenue generated. [Globe and Mail]
  • Eric Lindros, who retired because of concussions, believes that the speed of the game due to post-lockout rule changes has made hockey more dangerous. [SLAM! Sports]
  • Stu Hackel reports on the NHL’s “awful month” for concussions. So far this season 64 players have suffered concussions. [SI.com]
  • The corporate sponsorship of NHL jerseys inches closer to reality, as the Montreal Canadiens become the latest team to place adverts on their practice jerseys. [Puck Daddy]
  • The Torontoist names hockey homophobia as one of its “Villains of 2011.” The article gives a brief overview of the various ways in which homophobia intersected with hockey in the past calendar year. [Torontoist, via @HockeyAgainstH8]

General Sport Links

  • Fantastic article about Venus With Muscles, a new book by David L. Chapman and Patricia Vertinsky that examines historical popular portrayals of muscular women. [Brain Pickings]
  • Interesting post about Twitter is reshaping media, including sports media, and opening up new opportunities for writers. [Outkick the Coverage, via Puck Daddy]

Weekly Links: World Juniors Turn Massive Profits, Players Play for Free; More Discussion About Hockey Concussions

Editor’s Note: Weekly Links, which usually publish on Friday, are late due to the holiday weekend. We should be back to the regular schedule this week.

Welcome to Hockey in Society’s Weekly Links post. This feature highlights articles or blog entries that are related to Hockey in Society’s areas of interest and that may be of interest to the site’s readers.

Hockey Links

  • As the World Junior Hockey Championships gets underway in Alberta, Roy MacGregor has an interesting read about the annual tournament. One of the few articles I’ve seen that mention, if not in much detail, the fact that the tournament generates huge revenues for a variety of organizations, businesses, and individuals – all on the back of free teenage labour. [Globe and Mail]
  • Interesting mix of politics and hockey, as the US Congress calls on the International Ice Hockey Federation to pull the 2014 World Championships from Belarus. This hockey event was specifically highlighted as part of broader legislation aimed at punishing Belarus for violent repression of political protestors. [AFP, h/t to @Sean_Leahy for the link]
  • If you have not seen it yet, Ken Dryden has an excellent piece about concussions and the need for proactive action. [Grantland]
  • Good video blog from CBC announcer Jim Hughson about concussions: “There’s still too much pretending that concussions aren’t really what they are. What we do know is that there’s no mild, no severe concussion, no concussion-like symptoms – it’s either a concussion or it isn’t. Everyone at every level of hockey accepting that admission might be a great next step.” [CBC Sports; via Canadian Sports Fan]
  • Steve Lepore praises an episode of the VERSUS show NHL Live, which focused on concussions, for its restraint and its acknowledgement of different perspectives. [Puck the Media]
  • Much more reaction to the Montreal Canadiens hiring of Randy Cunneyworth, who does not speak French. [Yahoo! Sports; SB Nation; Globe and Mail]
  • Meanwhile, some Quebec social movement groups are planning to protest against the Canadiens outside the Bell Centre at an upcoming game. [Puck Daddy]
  • Eric Duhatschek explores why Quebec no longer produces a large number of NHL-caliber goaltenders. [Globe and Mail]
  • Interesting article about hockey in Israel, where there is only one hockey rink in the entire country and the sport interacts with religion and ethnicity in unexpected ways. [Wall Street Journal]
  • Finally, Los Angeles Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell turns environmentalist as his favourite fishing habitat is threatened by a proposed hydroelectric project. [Globe and Mail]

General Sport Links

  • The NFL has improved its concussion protocol by having an independent trainer, rather than a team-employed medical professional, on the sidelines to check out suspected concussions. [Globe and Mail]